SAN FRANCISCO — The Pac-12 announced the Conference’s 2021 softball award winners on Sunday, including yearly award recipients and All-Pac-12, All-Defensive and All-Freshman teams, as voted on by the league’s coaches.
Oregon landed six players on the Pac-12 All-Conference Team, highlighted by three first-teamers, while a pair earned all-freshman honors and two more were named to the all-defensive team following the release of the conference’s postseason awards Sunday.
Allee Bunker, Haley Cruse and Brooke Yanez each earned first-team all-conference recognition to make the Ducks one of three teams to put a trio of players on the first team. Bunker is currently fifth in the conference with 46 RBIs and is hitting .347, while Cruse sits in the top 10 of the league in six major offensive stat categories. Yanez has been one of the top strikeout pitchers all year, and is second in strikeouts per seven innings at 10.25 and second in total strikeouts with 235.
Alyssa Brito and Terra McGowan both took home second-team all-conference honors while Hanna Delgado was named to the third team. Brito is tied for the team lead with nine home runs while McGowan has delivered in clutch situations all year, hitting .426 with runners in scoring position. Delgado is currently third on the team with a .320 batting average.
Additionally, Brito and Delgado were named to the all-freshman team while Brito and Bunker earned spots on the all-defensive team. Brito has committed just four errors all season at shortstop, with both, while Bunker has been solid all year at second base and has just one error in her last 67 chances. Delgado is currently second among Pac-12 true freshmen in hitting.
This is the seventh time in the last eight seasons that Oregon has had at least six players make one of the all-conference teams and the fourth straight season the Ducks have had multiple players on the all-freshman team. It’s the third time that Oregon has put multiple players on the all-defensive team and the first time the Ducks have had both of their middle infielders make the team.
Alyssa Brito, Fr., SS
Second-Team All-Pac-12; All-Freshman Team; All-Defensive Team
Allee Bunker, Jr., 2B
First-Team All-Pac-12; All-Defensive Team
Haley Cruse, Sr., OF
Hanna Delgado, Fr., OF
Third-Team All-Pac-12; All-Freshman Team
Terra McGowan, Jr., C
Brooke Yanez, Jr., LHP
UCLA’s Rachel Garcia captured her third Pac-12 Player of the Year award, while Bruin head coach Kelly Inouye-Perez earned her second Coach of the Year honor. WASHINGTON’s Gabbie Plain was tabbed Pac-12 Pitcher of the Year and fellow Husky Sis Bates was selected as Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year for the third time. Rounding out the group was ARIZONA’s Janelle Meoño, who took home Pac-12 Freshman of the Year honors.
Pac-12 Player of the Year: Rachel Garcia, R-Sr., P/1B, UCLA (Palmdale, Calif.)
The only player in Conference history to win both Player and Pitcher of the Year in the same season (2019), Garcia punctuates her illustrious UCLA career with her third Pac-12 Player of the Year honor. Named to the United States Softball Olympic Team in October 2020, the 2019 LA Sports Awards Sportswoman of the Year spent 2020 with Team USA before returning to the Bruins for her final collegiate season in 2021. A two-way star, Garcia has been stellar at the plate, ranking third in the Pac-12 with a .504 on-base percentage and fourth with a .756 slugging percentage while launching a Conference-high seven home runs in Pac-12 play. In the circle, she leads the Conference in earned run average (0.63), and ranks top-ten in strikeouts and opposing batting average. A four-time All-Pac-12 First Team selection, Garcia has 11 home runs and 30 RBI at the plate to go along with a 14-0 record as a pitcher. She has been named Pac-12 Player of the Week twice and Pac-12 Pitcher of the Week three times this season.
Pac-12 Pitcher of the Year: Gabbie Plain, Sr., P, WASHINGTON (Harrington Park, Australia)
One of the most dominant pitchers in Conference history, Plain began the 2021 season 23-0, the longest undefeated start by a UW pitcher in program history. A three-time Pac-12 Pitcher of the Week this season, Plain became the second Husky to throw a perfect game in the season opener and one of three in program history to ever throw multiple no-hitters against Pac-12 competition. She finished the season leading the NCAA in strikeouts with 302, one of just two pitchers to reach the 300-K mark in 2021. She currently leads the Pac-12 complete games (22), shutouts (11) and wins (29), compiling a 29-2 record while leading Washington to a No. 5 national ranking in the latest poll. Her 28 starts have included 12 double-digit strikeout games and she’s surrendered more than two runs just five times. Across more than 200 innings pitched, Plain has held the opposing lineup scoreless and to one or fewer hits in more than one-fourth of her appearances. A USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year watchlist candidate, she has been named to the All-Pac-12 First Team for the third straight time.
Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year: Sis Bates, Gr., INF, WASHINGTON (Ceres, Calif.)
A fixture on the Washington infield since 2017, Bates has secured back-to-back-to-back Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year awards and her third All-Pac-12 First Team selection. In 2021, she became the third Husky to reach 300 career hits, while maintaining the second-best fielding percentage of any Washington middle infielder in program history. She finished the regular season having played every inning this season as the Huskies’ shortstop, committing just one error against Conference competition and has just five total errors in more than 100 career Pac-12 games. Bates also has a career-high 19 stolen bases this season on 20 attempts. At the plate, she has put together an impressive season at the top of Washington’s lineup, scoring 51 runs while also collecting 29 RBI. Along with teammate Gabbie Plain, Bates is one of ten candidates for USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year.
Pac-12 Freshman of the Year: Janelle Meoño, R-Fr., OF, ARIZONA (Hacienda Heights, Calif.)
The Pac-12 leader in batting average (.442), Meoño’s redshirt freshman season was highlighted by a 27-game hitting streak from March 11 through May 2. Her streak is the second-longest by any Wildcat hitter and tied the longest mark by a freshman in NCAA history. Meoño led the Pac-12 batting race for more than half the season, sitting above the .450 line for nearly the entire spring. Her year at the plate includes 14 multi-hit contests, seven doubles, one triple, one home run and 12 stolen bases, along with a .969 fielding percentage in the outfield. As a team, Arizona’s lineup produced a .326 batting average and .404 on-base percentage while maintaining a top-25 ranking all season long.
Pac-12 Coach of the Year: Kelly Inouye-Perez, UCLA
The Bruins’ head coach since 2007, former UCLA star catcher Kelly Inouye-Perez has led UCLA to a 41-4 overall record in this season, including a 19-2 mark in Conference. Entering the final weekend of Pac-12 action, Inouye-Perez had the defending Women’s College World Series champion Bruins ranked No. 2 in the USA Today/NFCA DI Top 25 Coaches Poll and well-positioned for another deep postseason run. This year’s UCLA roster features seven All-Conference selections, including five on the First Team, led by Player of the Year Rachel Garcia and multi-year selections Megan Faraimo, Aaliyah Jordan and Briana Perez. As a team, the Bruins lead the Pac-12 in on-base percentage (.426), stolen bases (59), earned run average (1.17), and opponent batting average (.169). The 2021 Pac-12 Coach of the Year award is Inouye-Perez’s second Conference Coach of the Year honor of her career (2009). In 2019, when UCLA captured its 13th National Championship and 12th NCAA title, Inouye-Perez and her staff were named the NFCA National Coaching Staff of the Year for the second time (2010).
2021 PAC-12 SOFTBALL ALL-CONFERENCE TEAMS
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